OUR seas are going to become increasingly crowded with development in the expanding sectors of offshore renewables and harbours and marinas.
The Marine Management Organisation (MMO), a non-departmental public body based in Newcastle, works on behalf of the government to balance these competing uses of the marine area – promoting economically and socially beneficial activity while seeking to minimise any adverse impact of developments on the environment, human health and users of the sea. Developers looking to carry out work at sea or elsewhere in tidal waters must first apply for a marine licence from the MMO. These are required for activities depositing or removing substances or objects from the seabed such as the construction of a port, wind farm or tidal energy project, dredging of a channel or building a private jetty.
Around 350 marine licences are applied for each year, a number which is expected to increase significantly as investment in marine development continues to grow. To help meet this demand the MMO was given powers under the Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009) to introduce a new, streamlined process for applications.
The online system, which launched this spring, got rid of the need to apply for multiple permissions from different public bodies and as a result applicants are now finding that seeking a marine licence is both simpler and quicker.
Andrew Beattie, acting director of planning and regulation at the MMO, said: “The new marine licensing system will allow sensible and necessary development in the marine environment, but in a manner that minimises adverse impacts on the environment, human health and users of the sea. The system consolidates and replaces a number of previous statutory controls and is a holistic consenting regime which covers the entire life of the development, enabling redundant structures to be removed safely after use.”
The MMO maintains and publishes a public register of licence applications and licences granted on its website. Recent applicants in the North East include Narec, in connection with the development of new test facilities at their site in Blyth, Newcastle NE1 Ltd, to construct a small marina development on Newcastle quayside and Northumbrian Water Ltd, for construction work on the foreshore of the River Tyne near the International Paints factory in Gateshead.
Contact the Marine Environment Team at the Marine Management Organisation on 0300 123 1032 or email marine.consents@marinemanagement. org.uk
Apply for a marine licence via the Marine Management Organisation’s website http://www.marinemanagement.org.uk /licensing/marine/apply.htm